A couple of weeks ago a Cape Cod, Massachusetts family found that a painting they had owned for generations was worth more than $1 million. The painting, titled “Haying on the Marsh” by Martin Johnson Heade was painted in the 1860’s. The family had no idea how much it was worth because the frame covered the artists name until they turned it over to Eldred’s Auction Gallery for appraisal. A pre-sale estimate by the gallery was determined to be about $500,000 and the family was pleasantly surprised when the painting brought in more than $1 million. Other Heade paintings have also sold for more than $1 million in previous auctions.
Martin Johnson Heade, a Luminism Style, American painter, was born in August of 1819 and is best known for seascape, still life and salt marsh landscape paintings. Although some art historians disagree, Heade is believed to have been part of the Hudson River School and many of his paintings were displayed at a major art exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1987. Heade didn’t begin exhibiting his works until 1841 after studying under Edward Hicks in Pennsylvania and traveling to Europe to practice his craft. It wasn’t until 1857 that he became interested in landscape painting and in 1859 moved to New York. Heade passed away in September of 1904.